Help! My child is a difficult eater, what now?

Mijn kind is een moeilijke eter

Brussels sprouts, chicory or broccoli: the most hated vegetables of children. No worries, as they get older they start to increasingly appreciate different types of foods. But what if your child is a difficult eater?

When is a child a difficult eater?

There are no hard rules for when a child is a "difficult eater" because every child is different and can respond to food in different ways. Some children are naturally picky and only eat a limited number of foods. Other children, on the other hand, are more adventurous and like to try out new things. When children do not like anything or only dare to eat a limited number of foods, we often call it a difficult eater.

Why is my child a difficult eater?

There are several reasons why children can be difficult eaters. Consider boredom, when children are constantly presented the same food, this can lead to boredom or the resistance to eat. But also unhealthy eating habits such as eating, for example, many sugars and snacks ensures that children do not quickly opt for the healthy options. Although giving a candy is easy to stop the children for a moment, you should not do this too often. Research also shows that whether you are a difficult eater is genetically determined. So don't feel guilty as a parent when your child doesn't want to eat anything.

Ok, so parents can't always do anything about it when their child is a difficult eater. But it is and remains an unpleasant situation for both older and child. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help children who are difficult eaters:

  • Provide a varied range of healthy foods. Try to offer new foods and keep doing this, even when your child refuses to eat it in the beginning. Children must occasionally get used to new foods, so in this situation it is the persistent who wins.
  • Involve your child in cooking and shopping. If children are involved in making their own meals, they are more inclined to eat them.
  • Force nothing. Forcing or punishing will probably only lead to resistance and a worse eating experience. Because negative emotions are now accompanied by eating, you only make the situation more complex. An absolute offense!
  • Make healthy foods attractive by presenting them in a fun way. For example, use nice shapes to cut the food or make a nice pattern on the board.
  • Make eateries a positive and relaxed moment for the whole family! Create a comfortable, quiet atmosphere without distractions, such as television or mobile phones. By eating together as a family and chatting about your day, you take the pressure away at eateries. This makes it easier for difficult eaters to start eating.
  • Be patient. It can sometimes take time before a child gets used to new foods. Keep offering and don't try to give up too quickly, even if you are sitting in your hair.

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